I think the subtext I've been picking up is that only the late Duke really cared about it and he won't be any the wiser if they let it rest, especially as the public doesn't seem to be much in the mood for things like the creation of new hereditary dukedoms, so why draw attention to it? After all, Labour just recently unveiled its latest proposal to do away with the House of Lords, so why risk getting even tangentially involved in the issue of new peerages? Would the remainder be the traditional "heirs male?" How would that go down? And if it were a gender-neutral remainder, would that stir up controversy about changing the remainders to all hereditary peerages, or perhaps abolishing them altogether? All for the sake of something that is only an issue to at most several hundred of us royalty enthusiasts?
As for the titles of the de jure Prince Archie and Princess Lilibet of Sussex, that is a much more mysterious issue, with the potential to stir up much stronger emotions among large swaths of the public, both in the UK and abroad, who are otherwise entirely uninterested in such things. I have been perplexed about this since the day after Archie's name was announced, and have read numerous theories, none of the with any reliable sourcing.
Personally, I find it very difficult to believe the decision regarding the non-use of their correct titles in either their great-grandmother's reign or their grandfather's was taken by anyone other than their parents, whose resentment at their not being given HRH prince(ss) from birth was a key grievance mentioned by the Duchess of Sussex in her Oprah Winfrey interview, although it was clear that neither woman really understood the regulations. The Duchess was unable to recall the name of the King who had made the rules (the then-monarch's beloved grandfather), much less what they were. Beyond that, it is hard to imagine that it would have even occurred to the late Queen or the current King, steeped as they are in system, to deny them their courtesy titles as children of a duke. I don't think it is even in their power to do so. And why would they? The Wessex children have been denied, as per the press release issued at the time of their parents' marriage that also included the apparently now discarded dukedom IOU, the use of their rightful titles under the 1917 LP. However, they are still known by their courtesy titles as an earl's children.
It's certainly nice to hear that figures such as Virginia McKenna or Mary Quant are receiving New Years 2023 honours. At the same time, it's also interesting to note how the BBC article adroitly skirts the wider and obvious issue of honours and styles within the immediate RF. I'm referring there obviously both to the Edinburgh title, still not granted to the Earl of Wesssex - and then also the style of the Sussex children - still just master/miss last we checked. It's going to be an interesting 2023 - if only because sometimes "silence speaks louder than words"
« Back to index